Joan’s first long distance ride

cyclists in Ripon

The three cyclists in Ripon Market Place

The rain is coming down in rods as Barrie, Joan and Ed leave the train in Lancaster to cycle to the start of the Way of the Roses in Morcambe. A tough start for the 168 mile ride across the country to Bridlington in mid September. By coffee time the three cyclists are very wet but well on their way to the first overnight stay near Grassington in the Yorkshire Dales. Continue reading

Steep calls unto steep

Long fast descents are consistently reached by a steep gradient. A very, very steep gradient in the case of this section of the Coast to Coast ride.
I’m not complaining. It’s been a really enjoyable day touching the two highest points on the ride. Both sections of road rise above 1900 feet.
Now I’m waiting for dinner at the Rookhope Inn and I feel I’ve earned it!
Last night I stayed at a hostel in Penrith run by a charming couple from Otley. Alasdair and Jackie. They were so kind to me. Their hostel was more like a family holiday cottage. I was the only guest last night – truly comfortable.
I met two other groups of C2Cers today. A pair of lads were thrashing along the whole way in a day. The other group of six men were on a four say pub crawl! Over twenty thousand people ride this route each year and the numbers are still rising.
Lunch was at Hartside Cafe. 1900 feet above sea level. It was a welcome sight after the long climb.
So the final stage is tomorrow. It starts pushing the bike to the top of a rough track too demanding for my road bike. After a mile I’m told it turns into a perfectly rideable moorland track and it’s downhill all the way from there to Sunderland.
Thank you to all the people who’ve made donations today. If you still want to sponsor me these are the links.
Riding Lights Theatre Company
The Funzi and Bodo Trust

Fellfoot Cyclists Hostel

Fellfoot Hostel, Penrith



Black Hill Summit

Black Hill Summit


Looking up Hartside from Renwick

Tea with Tarzan’s neighbour

I was only miles from my destination and passing through Greystoke when I discovered that Tarzan has a strong contender for attention here. Cycling Cafe tempted me with a mug of coffee and a huge piece of chocolate brownie. Lunch had been good too. Another cyclists haven, The Lakeland Pedlar in Keswick. A wholefood, veggie cafe and cycle repair shop next to one the town’s huge car parks. Great food.
The descent from Whinlatter on the forest track was a bit of a boneshaker on my road bike. I’m not a fan of off road. Those tracks slow me down and pound my body needlessly as far as I’m concerned. So it was good to feel the Tarmac under my wheels at Thornthwaite. A little more off road on an old railway track out of Keswick and then the hard stuff all the way to Penrith.
One gripe. Why do landowners put this gates across narrow lanes just the steepest point? They break my stride either struggling to maintain momentum in bottom gear on the way up or aiming to eat up some easy miles on the way down. I know it’s to do with livestock and I’m only a visitor but perhaps ……
So today starts from Penrith heading over the toughest section of the ride. Hartside and Black Hill ahead before I come to rest inRookhope for the night.

Whinlatter Pass

The descent of Whinlatter Pass

Gated Road

Gated road on a steep incline

Cafe in Greystoke

Cyclists Cafe in Greystoke

A few cool miles after a dip.

An early start at the sea. Front wheel traditionally dipped in the brine at the C2C sign. The ride begins. First leg via Keswick to Penrith. It’s now sunny and
the temperature is rising so let’s hit the road for a few cool miles before it starts to bake.
First a short prayer. Lord keep me safe on this journey. Thank you for the space to take it and the generosity of my sponsers. Amen.
Riding Lights Theatre Company
The Funzi and Bodo Trust

The start of the C2C at Whitehaven

The start of the C2C at Whitehaven

Confession on the air

Jonathan CowapJonathan Cowap did a fun interview with me about the Coast to Coast ride on BBC Radio York this morning. The most important part of the chat was the chance to promote the two charities I am supporting. Riding Lights Theatre and The Funzi and Bodo Trust

But after a lot of banter about bikes, hills, and my alleged fitness Jonathan made a quip about my love of things technical. In response the listeners heard a small confession. It’s at the end of my interview on the BBC iPlayer – about 2hrs 40mins in.

At the time of posting this I’m about to do a final check before setting off for the station heading for Whitehaven and the radio show hasn’t yet appeared on the iPlayer or I would have given you a link straight to the interview.